Browsed by
Tag: roadtrip

The best way to pack your suitcase for your next trip

The best way to pack your suitcase for your next trip

As someone who just got off her 79th flight this *year* a few hours ago (yes it is April 12, and I do mean since January 1), I certainly know a thing or two about packing a suitcase. It can be a little different packing for work-related trips compared to vacations but overall, similar principles still apply. So let’s talk about the best way to pack your suitcase for your next trip.

This was taken on my honeymoon in Santorini, Greece.
Santorini, Greece where I spent my honeymoon

1.Use packing cubes

Packing cubes were honestly something I thought was totally unnecessary for a long time. It wasn’t until I was in Hawaii for 8 days with my friends in October and my friend Stephanie was using them that I realized it was something I needed to try. On that trip, I succeeded in not checking a bag, however my carryon was so stuffed that the second I unzipped my bag there was practically stuff everywhere in an explosion of bathing suits, underwear, dresses and toiletries. Not fun. And also not easy to find that one thing that I needed that was definitely at the bottom of the big ol’ pile.

This is where packing cubes come in. For the trip we just took to Hawaii last week, I was able to organize so much better. For this trip which was vacation, I had a cube for each: bathing suits, underwear/socks/bras, workout clothes, during the day clothes, and nice clothes. However when I travel for work, my cubes are slightly different: underwear/socks/bras/panty hose, workout clothes, non-work clothes, and work clothes.

One of my FAVORITE parts about using packing cubes is when I am going on vacation and I am not sure the size of the suitcase I am going to be taking…

Has this ever happened to you before… you figure out everything you are bringing, fold it up all nice and neat in your suitcase only to realize that you aren’t going to fit it all in? Then you have to unpack everything to move to a larger suitcase and inevitably the nice, neat piles you folded are now *not* in nice, neat piles anymore?

Your problem is now solved with packing cubes. Once everything is packed in the cubes you can just arrange the packing cubes in your suitcase, if they don’t fit, it takes less than 30 seconds and zero re-folding to move to a different suitcase. Eliminate that frustration, get packing cubes. I promise that using them is the best way to pack your suitcase. The kind that I have are currently $25.99 on Amazon so you aren’t looking at breaking the bank, but you certainly will be eliminating the frustration.

Here are the packing cubes that I have. However if you follow the link, you can see there are different colors (maybe if you are packing for two kids you might want two colors) and a variety of sizes. They are seriously the best way to pack your suitcase!

2. Pack with a list

Ok so going for full transparency, I do not utilize lists for my business trips. I practically pack the same thing over and over for these so it would be a bit of a waste. However, vacations are different so I absolutely use lists here. And unless you travel regularly, they really will be helpful for you as well.

Why spend time making a list when you could be spending that time packing? Well it will help you really think of everything. I have certainly been guilty of forgetting important things like socks, toothpaste, or my charger because I needed to charge up but I didn’t unplug it from the wall when I left on my early morning flight. And it’s not like you can’t purchase these things once you reach your destination, but this is taking valuable time out of your vacation.

The other important thing about lists is it will help you think of the things that you should bring that you don’t normally interact with on a day-to-day basis. For example, I have a GoPro that I don’t bring with me on work trips but I often bring it on vacation. Since I don’t see the GoPro regularly, it’s easy to forget about it when I am packing for vacation, especially if I am packing in a crunch.

3. Wrinkle-free clothing

People often argue about whether or not you should roll or fold the items in your suitcase to avoid looking like a hot mess when you arrive at your destination or spending an hour ironing everything. My favorite solution is to consider the items that I am packing and how wrinkle-prone they are and to just pack the items that are less likely to wrinkle during the trip. Side note: This maybe because I dislike ironing unless it involves me throwing something in the dryer, haha. If you are deciding between two shirts and you know that one of them will require ironing and one won’t, just pack the wrinkle free option!

4. Consider the weight and size of the items that you are packing

I am heading to Iceland in a few weeks and it will be colder there than it is where I live. Instead of packing my winter coat, I will be bringing it on the plane with me. My coat is big and it would take up too much space if I put it in my suitcase.

*As a reminder the FAA limits the number of items you can carry onto a plane to two; a carryon that fits in the overhead compartment like a roller board bag and a personal item such as a purse that fits underneath your seat.*

FAA restrictions aside, most airlines don’t give you a hard time about things like jackets or pillows, and these things are not [usually] included in your two item limit.

You should also consider the weight of the items that you are packing. For example, my husband wanted to bring his Carolina Blue Nikes on our trip to Hawaii since the Heels were in the Final Four (and won the NCAA championship…go Heels!). These shoes are heavyyyyy. Much heavier than his sandals that he was also bringing to Hawaii. He opted to wear these shoes, rather than his sandals onto the plane to save weight in the suitcase.

Cheering on our favorite tall drinks while enjoying the semi-final game against Oregon.
Cheering on our favorite Tar Heels in the semi-final game against Oregon April 2017.

5. Think about security lines and restrictions

If you are just bringing a carryon on your next flight and you do not have TSA pre-check, or you are traveling through an airport that is not TSA pre-check capable, consider the security restrictions BEFORE you leave for the airport. The best way to pack your suitcase is to keep your liquids, gels, or aerosols (in your 3-1-1) bag in an outside pocket or on the very top of your suitcase. This will absolutely help you speed through security as you won’t have to dig for your bag of liquids and hold up the line behind you.

If you travel even a few times a year, I would certainly recommend looking into TSA pre-check. It is very nice not to have to go through the scanners, take your shoes off, or remove your computer or 3-1-1 liquids from your bag. It’s not that expensive and it is good for 5 years. It is also covered as part of some travel credit card benefits, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Hopefully these 5 tips helped you learn the best way to pack your suitcase for your next trip. Do you have any pointers from your own travel experience? I would love to hear them in the comments! Also, for more travel-tips be sure to subscribe to my list so you won’t miss a post!

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “Relentless” by Tim Grover

Me at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Me at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

name:

email:





Is travel an acquired taste?

Is travel an acquired taste?

It’s no secret to anyone who is even an acquaintance of mine that I absolutely love to travel. Maybe it’s something about how vast, uninhabited and unique the west is that just invites you to explore further. Perhaps it’s the feeling when standing under the centuries old architecture from other countries and feeling the awe of creation in a time that it wasn’t so easy. Or maybe it’s that my dad was in sales and we would always go with my parents on trips creating fun family memories. Whatever it is, I can’t. get. enough.

My friend Collin who was visiting a couple of weeks ago and I have both been bitten by the travel bug. We were discussing the contentment of some people to stay home compared to how we are both wired on our road trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to northern Arizona.

This got me thinking… is travel an acquired taste? Is travel sort of like beer in college (or high school – no judgment here), where you took your first sip and thought it was absolutely the worst thing ever. And your mom was so right about that nasty stuff but then gradually you realize it does go really well with pizza, and burgers? Maybe travel is one of those things you have to try a few times to learn the tricks… how to get through airport security without having a panic attack, that you definitely don’t want a less than two hour layover in the Charles de Gaulle Airport because you will have to run, or that odds are if you want to check your bag and not pay, they will give you the option once you get to the gate.

This got me thinking… is travel an acquired taste?

And once you get a taste for travel, it’s hard to go back to hanging out at home most weekends. There are always more places to go and people to share experiences with. Travel helps you get to know yourself better as well because experiences you have are much more variable than they would be if you were doing something similar week in and week out. Fortunately my job is also now allowing me to see the US, and I am so grateful for this.

What do you think? Were you born with a wanderlust soul or did it take over slowlyyyy or maybe all at once after one particular trip?

I have already shared some pictures from my adventures with Collin here. But I wanted to share the rest. Below is the portion of our trip in northern Arizona near Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend. And sorry in advance, I was a bit obsessed. It’s an absolutely gorgeous spot.

Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Me & Collin at Horseshoe Bend
Me & Collin at Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend
Lake Powell
Lake Powell
Lake Powell
Lake Powell

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero ****If you haven’t read or listened to this book yet, PLEASE do. This is somewhere around the 10th time in the last year I have read/listened to it and it is SUCH a great book. Very influential mindset wise. I always get something new out of it each time.

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 3 – Zion National Park

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 3 – Zion National Park

My last two posts were about the first portion of our family trip down to the Nationals Parks – Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Park. The final part was the grand finale – Zion National Park. Zion National Park is the most well-known national park in Utah, and it is a pretty incredible place. Instead of driving along the rim like you do at the Grand Canyon or Bryce Canyon, you drive IN the canyon and get to look up at the massive stone walls.

The most famous hikes in Zion National Park are Angel’s Landing and The Narrows. Both of these hikes are decently dangerous with Angel’s Landing having very steep drop-offs and chains to keep you steady and the Narrows with extreme flash flooding risks. That being said, for in-shape/avid hikers, those are both MUST hikes.

Since we were a little less aggressive, we opted for the East Rim Overlook Trail. This is a trail I had never been on before that still offered a fantastic view without the extremes of the hikes that I mentioned previously. It was not extremely steep, and therefore much more generous to my east-coast family.

Although we made this trip from Salt Lake City, Zion National Park is only 2.5 hours from Las Vegas and definitely a worthwhile, shorter-trip-than-visiting-the-Grand-Canyon adventure.

Here are some of the pictures from the hike!

 

Zion National Park
Walked under this massive rock along part of the trail.
Zion National Park
Here is my attempt at a panorama picture to demonstrate what it looked like under this rock.
Zion National Park
Walking along the edge…this is looking down.
Zion National Park
Christina on the trail.
Zion National Park
The view from the top.
Zion National Park
Another shot of the view from the top.
Zion National Park
Christina at the top.
Zion National Park
Mom & dad
Zion National Park
Dad showing off on the rocks.
Zion National Park
Me at the top.
Zion National Park
Christina at the top
Zion National Park
Yoga time!
Zion National Park
Christina at the top!
Zion National Park
Family photo 🙂

 

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 2 – Bryce Canyon

Weekend Trip from Salt Lake City to National Parks – Part 2 – Bryce Canyon

If you caught my last post, you know that my parents visited over President’s Day weekend and as they had already visited once before, they decided they wanted to see some parts of Utah besides just Salt Lake City and Park City. Therefore we decided to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks. We planned a nice little loop from Salt Lake City with the first stop being the closest national park – Capitol Reef. The next stop after that was Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Canyon is definitely more popular than Capitol Reef, but still not the most well-known national park in Utah. It is also significantly higher in elevation than Capitol Reef. Since our visit was in February, we caught it in the snow! It is truly a magical place in the snow. If you want to do some hiking in Bryce Canyon in the winter time (or ANYWHERE at a high elevation), you will definitely want to invest in some Kahtoola microspikes. These spikes attach to your hiking boots and will help substantially with your footing in the snow. As a side note, these are the exact spikes that I have and I highly recommend them. Many people go instead with Yaktrax, which are much less expensive but also not nearly as substantial. I have heard many reports of these breaking.

Here is a link to the Kahtoola microspikes:

Since the whole family was not equipped with these, we decided to pass on the hiking. However, I have done the Queens Garden trail twice which takes you down in the canyon so you can see it up close and personal. It is very beautiful!

Bryce Canyon is famous for the “hoodoos” which are beautiful rock formations. You can see a lot of these various formations in the pictures below.

 

Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park
Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park

So this is part two of our weekend trip from Salt Lake City. Once again, if you missed part one, you can check it out here. Be on the lookout for part 3 coming soon.

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Weekend Trip From Salt Lake City to the National Parks – Part 1 – Capitol Reef

Weekend Trip From Salt Lake City to the National Parks – Part 1 – Capitol Reef

My parents visited over President’s Day weekend and as they had already visited once before, they decided they wanted to see some parts of Utah besides just Salt Lake City and Park City. Therefore we decided to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks. We planned a nice little loop from Salt Lake City with the first stop being the closest national park – Capitol Reef.

As a side note, you could spend a week in each national park in Utah and not see everything. This was more of a “let’s hit the highlights” type of trip – and one that my parents really enjoyed.

Capitol Reef is a little under 3.5 hours south of Salt Lake City. It is the least famous of the Utah National Parks making it extremely enjoyable all year around, even during “busy” season. The hiking trail we visited, Hickman Bridge, is one of the more popular choices. However we still only encountered 2 other groups while we were hiking – much less than during the spring, summer, and fall but it doesn’t seem to ever get really crowded.

The Hickman Bridge trail is about 2 miles long and 500 ft of elevation gain. Not much, but if you aren’t adjusted to the elevation it can be a little challenging. Be sure to bring water.

Hickman Bridge
Hickman Bridge
Christina and Mom under Hickman Bridge
Christina and Mom under Hickman Bridge
Dad under Hickman Bridge
Dad under Hickman Bridge
Family photo minus me
Family photo minus me
Let me take a selfie ;)
Let me take a selfie 😉
Ok let me take two selfies ;)
Ok let me take two selfies 😉
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
View from the Hickman Bridge Trail
One of the "Capitols"
One of the “Capitols”

So to summarize, it is totally doable to take a weekend trip from Salt Lake City to the National Parks and Capitol Reef will likely be your very first stop. Be on the lookout for the next two posts from the rest of our trip!

Currently reading: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

Moab for the Weekend

Moab for the Weekend

Somewhere between terrain that looks like Mars and the Lion King’s Elephant Graveyard you will find Moab, Utah… probably one of the most unique looking areas in all of the United States.

Austin’s sister and her boyfriend were visiting us for the past week and we decided to wrap up the week of skiing with a trip to Southern Utah to visit Moab. Austin and I have been only once right after we first moved so we were excited to make the trip again. I was in Philly for work so I joined the rest of the crew on Friday night so I enjoyed a solid two days.

While you may have heard of Moab before, most people are unaware that it’s the closest town to two of Utah’s National Parks:  Arches and Canyonlands. Canyonlands is comprised of three separate districts that are divided by rivers: Island in the Sky, Needles & The Maze. Many people overlook Canyonlands and spend all of their time in Arches National Park and they are definitely missing out!

Also contrary to popular belief, southern Utah can get cold. Early Saturday morning in Arches National Park was cloudy and cold (teens-twenties) but the afternoon brought sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures. All of the pictures below of Arches National Park were on the same day and taken by me.

 

snapchat-926959596
Garden of Eden, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
snapchat-2065390051
Landscape Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161217_122239793
The Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161217_123621839_hdr
The Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161217_123642290_hdr
The Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161217_123206670_hdr
Austin & I under the Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
GoPro Version – Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
GoPro Version – Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
Okay I really couldn’t pick between the two pictures – Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
Okay I guess make that three - Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
Okay I guess make that three – Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
GoPro Group Photo – Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161218_111440935
White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161218_112354195
White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161218_112903970
White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT
img_20161218_113845834
White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT
fb_img_1482219628314
White Rim Overlook, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, UT (taken at sunset). Photo Credit: Ryan Spain

 

 

Want to visit yourself and only have the weekend? Here is what I would recommend:

Friday – Drive from Salt Lake City to Moab

Saturday – Spend the day in Arches National Park.

  • Drive from the Visitor’s Center all of the way to Devil’s Garden stopping at the viewpoints that interest you.
  • The hike to the Delicate Arch is 3.0 miles RT and a must if you are in to hiking. 95% of the hike is not shaded and if you are visiting when it is warm outside prepare for this hike to be incredibly hot with extra water, sunscreen, and snacks. The Delicate Arch is extra beautiful at sunset but be careful to bring a flashlight if you are going in the evening.
  • After the Delicate Arch head back towards the Visitor’s Center and take the turnoff towards the Garden of Eden and take the short trail to the North and South Window if time permits.
  • Extra activities depending on fitness/interest level:
    • Fiery Furnace – This requires a permit or a ranger-guided tour. Advance arrangements are required. Refer to the nps.gov website.
    • Devil’s Garden Hike – This hike is over 7 miles long and goes on a primitive trail where you can see many beautiful arches such as Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. 95% of the hike is not shaded and if you are visiting when it is warm outside prepare for this hike to be incredibly hot with extra water, sunscreen, and snacks.

Sunday – Spend the day in Canyonlands “Island in the Sky” District.

  • Although popular, Mesa Arch is beautiful at sunrise. If you are an early riser, go ahead and head to Mesa Arch first thing allowing for plenty of time to park and hike the 0.5 miles to the Arch. This is a popular time and the limited parking can be taken. If you would rather avoid the rush and the early wake up call, consider doing this at sunset instead.. still a golden hour of photography so the colors are less harsh and it will be a lot less crowded.
  • Continue beyond the Mesa Arch down to the White Rim Overlook. Although the actual 0.8 mile each way walk is not incredibly impressive, the end view is amazing.
  • Want a view in the other direction? Go to Grand View Overlook. This is 1.0 each way and it is along the edge of the island. Very cool.
  • If you want to skip the Grand View Overlook, check out the Green River Overlook which has a short path to the viewpoint and it’s in the same direction as the Grand View Overlook, although it’s not quite the same view.
  • Extra activities depending on time/vehicle:
    • Drive Shafer Trail Road. This windy narrow road is not for those afraid of heights or without a high clearance vehicle. If you love off-roading, this is a must although make sure you allow for plenty of time if you are taking this road to Moab and verify conditions with the Visitor’s Center prior to your departure.
  • Head back to Salt Lake City

 

Currently reading: “Happy Pocket Full of Money” by David Cameron Gikandi and “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne

Currently listening to: Starboy by The Weeknd